Finding a good facial skin care regimen that is effective for reducing the visible signs of aging and protecting the skin, can feel comforting and rewarding. Facial skin care differs from individual to individual, and there is no "right" skin care regimen for everyone. The search for an effective facial skin care regimen can be overwhelming with massive quantity of options and confusing number of must-have ingredients. Stick to this strategy to avoid spending money on false promises, and finding a good facial skin care regimen effective for aging skin.

Understand What's Happening to Aging Skin

Collagen is the natural protein fiber that is crucial to the overall health and appearance of skin, as it is responsible for the skin's thickness, elasticity, firmness and tightness. As people age, collagen production slows down and eventually stops, causing the skin to be increasingly weaker and thinner. Sun damage that has materialized in the dermis (middle) layer of the skin begins to show in the skin's surface. Wrinkles form as the dermis layer thins. As the epidermis (surface skin layer) and dermis become weaker and thinner, they become even more susceptible to harm from environmental influences, such as the sun and free radicals.

Products that advertise collagen are tricky. Collagen is extremely complicated and has many different types, and simply applying a product that claims it has collagen does not mean the skin's collagen will become replenished, as pointed out in "Skin collagen: More than meets the eye," on

Mind Health and Nutrition

This is key and will have more impact on the skin's appearance than even the most high-end skin care products. What is ingested into the body has a huge impact on the skin. Just as the rest of the body's organs require adequate nutrition to function properly, so does the skin. Vitamins C, E and A are crucial, as these vitamins help protect the skin from damaging environmental influences, help boost cell turn-over and sustain collagen, and ensure the overall proper functionality of skin cells. Drinking plenty of water helps keep the skin hydrated and flush out any unhealthy matter in the body.

Stop smoking and drinking alcohol. These habits deplete the oxygen and nutrients the skin needs to stay healthy. Smokers and drinkers often have visibly large pores, premature aging signs, broken capillaries, and sallow complexions.

Reduce stress and learn to relax to ensure that your immune system stays in top form and can protect your skin from harm.

Don't Be Mislead, Stick to the Goals

To reduce skin discoloration and wrinkles, the skin requires a more rapid cell turn-over, which means that irregular cells are replaced with new, healthy cells. This is done by exfoliation, which sheds the skin of its old cells, revealing a healthy layer of new skin cells. Exfoliation can be achieved with baking soda and water, or more aggressive exfoliation can be achieved with home microdermabrasion treatments. Exfoliation is a crucial step in the skin care regimen of aging skin, but an expensive exfoliation treatment isn't necessary, since all exfoliants function in the same way.

The skin needs protection. Sunscreen is crucial for daytime, no matter the weather. Keeping the skin hydrated helps its protective capabilities and is also important since the slow down in collagen production will cause dryness and further expose the signs of aging. The "right" moisturizer will vary by skin type and skin condition, but the moisturizer should contain an SPF. If excessive dryness is a concern, opt for a cream rather than a moisturizer. Many drugstore brands offer the same ingredients as high-end brands for less money.

Research (from a health perspective) what the skin actually needs, and what the "new" ingredients can offer the skin, and how those ingredients are packaged. Vitamin E, for example, is essential for healthy skin, however, as a topical substance, this vitamin degrades as soon as it is exposed to the air. It becomes easy to question how so many skin care products can promise to deliver the benefits of vitamin E to the skin, when in fact it requires a certain chemically-altered form that makes it less subject to degradation and can be preserved in quality packaging. Already, the list of products that truly do offer vitamin E benefits becomes significantly shorter.

Learn Where to Cut Corners

Learn which products are worth spending and which are worth saving on. Serums, for instance, are different than moisturizers because they penetrate the skin layers to deliver the nutrients and benefits (usually anti-oxidants) to the skin. Moisturizers, on the other hand, sit on the surface of the skin. A good serum is worth investing in, a moisturizer can do the same job whether it's high-end or inexpensive. Cleansers and toners have the sole purpose of removing dirt and oil from the skin's surface. Witchhazel can be used as a toner when needed.

Think Logically About the Need for and Application of Too Many Products

Many cosmetics companies and their sales people would love to tell you that you need firmers, eye serums before eye moisturizers, night serums, many different kinds of masks, tightening gels, and a plethora of other kinds of products to sustain aging skin. Stick with the basics, and consider logically that no matter what the cosmetics companies sales pitches, the skin cannot handle too many foreign ingredients. Eye creams are formulated differently since the skin of the eye area is delicate, but night and day formulas will not differ greatly. Concerning benefits offered, if the skin has a proper cleanser, serum, and moisturizer, applying other products will make little to no difference

Consider Spending on Laser Treatment

For moderate to severe sun spots and wrinkles, laser treatment is a cosmetic solution, offering permanent results with a non-invasive, non-surgical procedure that has few side effects and requires only one session for instant results. If there is room in the budget for laser treatment, the lasting results could be well worth the spending.